Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Chavez Tino

Faustin "Tino" Chavez

Honored October, 2017

Faustin "Tino" Chavez

 A true Santa Fean through and through,  Faustin “Tino” Chavez knows how to live a full, rich, and successful life. He is a devoted family man, a highly respected business and community leader, a volunteer, and sportsman. 

Tino is proud of his strong Spanish lineage. He was born in an old Santa Fe adobe home, the oldest of 10 children. His mother spoke Spanish to the oldest five children, and English to the younger five. That was a time when teachers wouldn’t allow Spanish speaking in school. One teacher was heard saying, ”If you’re going to speak Spanish, get off the school-grounds” 

After serving in the Navy in southern California, Tino returned to Santa Fe where he earned a degree in Business Administration graduating from the College of Santa Fe. 

Tino opened Chavez Jewelers in 1976. It was the oldest lasting business in the DeVargas mall remaining steady while other stores came and went. Ten hour days/five days a week was not an unusual work schedule for this master jeweler. It was a family run business and Tino’s slogan “I want to be your jeweler” made someone who walked in a customer, left feeling part of the family,” Tino and Delores, his wife of 52 years who worked along side him, retired after running the shop 40 years.

 In his business Tino took on leadership roles such as the President of the New Mexico Jewelers Association, and President of the Coronado Center Merchants Association. The Minority Business Bureau of New Mexico named Tino the Retail Businessman of the Year. 

Tino has served our community in many volunteer capacities, for example—as President of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce he was always looking at the bigger picture assuring our city was recognized and supported for future economic development. He was President of the Larragoite Elementary School Bi-lingual Parents Advisory Committee and member of the NM Museum Foundation of Rancho de las Golodrinas.  As President of the Santa Fe Fiesta Council, Tino was responsible for overseeing numerous volunteers in organizing the  annual Fiesta.  In 1973 he had the honor of portraying Don Diego de Vargas in the Fiesta de Santa Fe. 

Past Governors, Mayors, and County Commissioners, recognizing  Tino’s talents and dedication, asked him to assist in projects that would benefit our community.  Governor Bruce King appointed Tino to Youth Employment Support and Advisory Council. Mayor Larry Delgado proclaimed March 6, 2004 Faustin Tino Chavez Day. Mayor Sam Pick appointed Tino to the Municipal Recreation Complex. A good fit, since Tino,  an avid golfer,  worked to make the Marty Sanchez Golf Course a place acknowledged throughout the US.  He received the Legislative recognition for a lifetime of service award in 2016. 

Tino’s accomplishments come from his foundation of keen intelligence, strong ethics, honesty, integrity, and a generosity of spirit. While working in the larger arena of our community, Tino’s relationship with his employees reveals these characteristics.  A former employee who began working at Chavez Jewelers right out of high school said that Tino was a mentor who not only taught the ins and outs of his business but how to interact with customers as though they were family.  He taught a wide range of  job skills from how to make a bank deposit to working with jewelry, ultimately how to manage a jewelry store. Equally important he taught life skills— leadership, how to handle a difficult situation, and  how to listen to a person’s needs. He taught the sky was the limit and nothing is unattainable and motivated them to find and follow their own passion. These mentees moved on to be a store manager, customer service supervisor, teacher, paralegal, national television news reporter, administrative executive, marketing director, realtor, bookkeeper, and restaurant owner. Tino helped mold them to be solid, productive contributing members of society. 

Tino's smile, respectfulness, wisdom, and unselfish work for our community exemplifies a man of highest dignity.  He is a mentor who inspires; he has instilled values of perseverance, integrity, and accountability.  Tino is a man who has lived in and contributed to Santa Fe all his life. He continues to leave footprints of hope for others.



Story by Nancy Dahl

Photo © 2017 by Genevieve Russell